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Laura Karst “Dancing in Darkness” Album Release Show
June 26 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm$10 – $35
Tabard Theatre announces jazz vocalist Laura Karst’s “Dancing In Darkness” album release show on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 2pm. The live performance will be available for in-person patrons as well as livestream from home. Single tickets are $10-35. On Demand tickets are also available June 27 – July 11. Tabard Theatre is an all-vaccinated venue and will be checking proof of vaccination at the door. Masking is not required, though facial coverings are encouraged.
Laura’s performance at the Tabard Theatre celebrates the June 2022 release of her second solo album of jazz vocals, “Dancing in Darkness”. The album comprises songs by an international array of jazz composers and a variety of jazz styles: swing, bebop, ballads, Latin, modern, and fusion, occasionally treating listeners to Laura’s impeccably pronounced French and Portuguese singing. She will be joined on stage by the stellar line-up of first-call Bay Area jazz musicians featured on her new release: Walter John Bankovitch (piano), Noriyuki Ken Okada (bass), Greg German (drums), and Modesto Briseno (trumpet and flugelhorn). Copies of the album will be available at the show, and Laura will be delighted to sign purchased copies.
Music critics and fans praise Laura Karst’s warm and smooth alto voice, her interpretation of lyrics as a true storyteller, and her versatility as a singer of a wide range of jazz styles, and in a variety of languages. She can swing hard and scat, or get an infectious bossa nova or samba groove going, and she will hold you emotionally captive as she sings her ballads. Writing for Indie Music Reviewer Magazine, Victor Alfieri said “Jazz is not dead, and as long as artists like Laura Karst are around, it won’t be a lost art either. If you fancy the old queens of jazz like Ella and Etta, or their modern counterparts, you will love Karst’s velvety voice.” Brent Black of Critical Jazz.com noted, “She sings with a joyous abandon…. a storyteller that has the innate ability to create a musical connection between herself and the audience… this is how you sing jazz!.”
San Francisco Bay Area jazz vocalist Laura Karst used to surprise her audiences when they learned that, by day, she was the chair of a prominent college’s French department, up until her retirement in 2017. She enjoyed her day job, but singing jazz has been her greatest love for the past 20 years. Laura is a seasoned solo performer, having gigged in a number of Bay Area jazz venues, including Angelica’s Main Stage in Redwood City, Café Pink House jazz club in Saratoga, the Lobby Lounge of the San Jose Fairmont, Tarragon in Sunnyvale, Sumika in Los Altos, the Octavia Lounge jazz club in San Francisco, and soon, the wonderful Tabard Theatre in San Jose. In 2017, Laura was the invited Guest Artist at the Hilo Bay Café in Hawai’i, and she has also performed in numerous jazz clubs in Paris, such as Autour de Midi et Minuit, Péniche le Marcounet, Le Caveau des Légendes, Le Café Universel, and La Crêperie ELO. As an ensemble singer, Laura has sung in the 5- and 6-voice vocal jazz groups, Vocal Flight and JAZZ-ology, winning First Place at the Reno Jazz Festival and multiple national awards from DownBeat Magazine during Laura’s tenure with them. With JAZZ-ology, Laura has performed in jazz clubs in Manhattan, NY, and in Paris, Lyon, and Grenoble, France. She is a lyricist as well, collaborating primarily with the award-winning European jazz composer and vocalist, Loïs Le Van, whose album “Vind”, featuring exclusively Laura’s lyrics, was selected as Album of the Month by Jazz News Magazine in October 2019.
Walter John Bankovitch (piano) is a well-established Bay Area composer and arranger who has appeared with Stan Getz, John Lee Hooker, and Bobby Hutcherson, and has performed with vocal jazz luminaries Michelle Hendricks, Kenny Washington, Madeline Eastman, Nicolas Bearde, Mary Stallings, Barbara Morrison, Jackie Ryan, Paula West, and many more. Walter has played in major festivals and prominent jazz venues including the SFJAZZ Center, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, and Yoshi’s. For several years he has served as the house pianist and Musical Director for the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier jazz competition, Jazz Search West.
Noriyuki Ken Okada (bass) was born in New York and raised in Brazil before moving to Japan. He plays a broad range of musical styles, reflecting his multicultural upbringing. After winning the largest national college big band jazz competition in Japan, he began playing professionally in Tokyo. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2002, he has played with artists such as John Worley, Destiny Muhammad, Kristen Strom, Leon Joyce Jr., and Akira Tana. Ken has appeared at renowned jazz clubs such as Yoshi’s, Dizzy’s, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, the SFJAZZ Center, and in major festivals, including Monterey Jazz, Stanford Jazz, and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.
Greg German (drums) has been performing over the last 30 years with San Francisco Bay Area bands that run the spectrum from pop and rock, to Latin and Brazilian, to chamber music and jazz in its many varieties. He has recorded with numerous groups, including Marcos Silva, Terrence Brewer, Humanistic, Ben Stolorow, Gerald Beckett, Steve McQuarry, Alt Jazz Ark ensembles, and Resonance. He has also performed live with such distinguished artists as Madeline Eastman, Claudia Villela, Benny Rietveld (Miles Davis, Santana), Barbara Morrison, Sandy Cressman, the Stray Horns, and the Mandala Orchestra.
Modesto Briseno (trumpet and flugelhorn), whose father played with Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Harry James, is a third-generation jazz musician and long-time fixture on the Bay Area jazz scene, and has performed with the Ray Charles Orchestra, Tom Harrell, and many other jazz greats. He has been compared to Chet Baker for his ability to sing the trumpet, and to Roy Eldridge for his full-bodied sweet intonation.
Tabard Theatre (formerly Theatre on San Pedro Square) — The Destination for Arts Discovery — is located in the heart of historic San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose amid a bustling restaurant district. This intimate and unique venue brings a touch of Manhattan to the South Bay with its rustic yet edgy feel. Old brick walls, plush leather seats, antique wood plank floors, sweeping red velvet drapes and a 35-foot mahogany bar create a casual cabaret atmosphere. The three-quarter round cabaret stage— described by artists as “a room that feels big and small at the same time” — is the perfect setting for live music and theatre.